LeBron Scores 39 as HEAT Outlast Lakers
By: Matt Pineda
After being on the road for 11 consecutive days, the HEAT went into L.A. to face a Laker team that’s been home for a week, and just got back Pau Gasol. The odds didn’t seem to be in their favor, but the HEAT were able to put together a complete game, show resilience and get a good win to finish their road trip 3-3.
The Lakers played sloppy in the first half with 16 turnovers. The HEAT started the game making 4 dunks on 4 turnovers, but the Lakers always stayed close. Miami struggled against Howard’s size all night. Haslem had his hands full, Joel played him and the pick and roll really well, and even Bosh got some time. Miami made only 2 shots outside the paint in the first half, yet it was a 45-44 Laker lead at halftime.
In the second half, Miami took control in the third quarter as Kobe struggled to score. The HEAT’s defense has been noticeably better the last two times out, and LeBron just would not stop attacking. The HEAT held a 9 point advantage in the fourth, but the Lakers were able to tie the game at 83 behind Kobe coming to life and hitting four straight shots.
But with a Ray Allen three and later a floater, and a good Dwyane Wade, the HEAT were able to continue the defensive pressure and close out the game. Miami looked really good in this game and there’s no doubt it is something to build on.
Bosh continued to struggle scoring on 7 points, but Wade and LeBron were too good in this one.
The HEAT won the game 99-90 and improved to 26-12.
Game MVP: LeBron James
No doubt about this one, King James attacked from the beginning and never stopped. He racked up 39 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. He was a monster, dominant and always in control. He did have to play 42 minutes, but the HEAT have 5 days off.
Lights Out Performance: Dwyane Wade
He was almost as equally brilliant, in his own way. Wade took control when LeBron was out and showed how to score on a big like he would against Tyson Chandler or Serge Ibaka – shooting floaters right over top of them. Wade had 27 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
Tough Game: Kobe Bryant (Quarters 1-3)
Kobe ended up with 22 points but shot 8-25. He couldn’t get it going until the fourth quarter and once LeBron keyed in on him and the HEAT defense, the Lakers didn’t know where to go.
Stat of the Game: 20 turnovers
The HEAT forced 20 turnovers on the Lakers and that led to a lot of dunks. This is the type of championship defense the HEAT will use to win.
The HEAT will host the Toronto Raptors next Wednesday at 7:30. The HEAT have 5 days off and will regroup from their road trip.